Christmas Miracle

Christmas Miracle

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Left to right- Clinical Operations Manager Dannny Hone, Emergency Care Assistant Louise Capell, Paramedic Sophie Hudson, Charlotte Pickwick, Husband Stuart and 999 call taker Claire Smalley

A Nurse who suffered a cardiac arrest on Boxing Day 2017 has been reunited with the ambulance crew and 999 call taker who saved her life.

Charlotte Pickwick, 41, from Brackley was at home asleep after a busy day celebrating Christmas with her husband and two children, when she became unconscious and stopped breathing in the early hours of the morning.

Husband Stuart quickly called 999 and Emergency call taker Claire Smalley was able to give Stuart instructions on how to perform Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). Stuart had luckily attended a first aid course four years ago and knew what he needed to do, in order to save his wife.

Son Sam, 14, woke up and assisted Stuart with the necessary actions of opening the front door, turning the lights on and waiting for the ambulance crew.

Within minutes ambulance crew; Paramedic Sophie Hudson and Emergency Care Assistant Louise Capell were on scene, shortly followed by Clinical Operations Manager Danny Hone.

Sophie, Louise and Danny were able to use a defibrillator on Charlotte to shock her heart back into a normal rhythm and stabilise her enough to transport to hospital. Charlotte arrested a further two times whilst in A&E.

Being a nurse and surviving a cardiac arrest Charlotte knows the importance of defibrillators.

A defibrillator is a device that gives a high energy electric shock to the heart through the chest wall, when someone is in cardiac arrest, to try and get their heart back into a normal rhythm to start pumping blood around the body. They are coming more common in public places and can be used by anybody.

Since Charlotte’s cardiac arrest she has qualified as an instructor with the British Heart Foundation to teach members of the public CPR and basic first aid, including how to use a defibrillator. So far she has held five sessions in her local area with the help of EMAS Technician Adam Jenkins. She has also raised enough money to buy a Community Public Access Defibrillator (CPAD) that will be placed in her local area and continues to raise more money to place further machines.

It is important that a CPAD is registered on our 999 records.  This means when a 999 call is received and a patient is identified as being in cardiac arrest, we can direct the caller to the nearest available defibrillator to help save the patient’s life, if there is one local to them.

Charlotte and her family were reunited, in what was an emotional reunion, with the Sophie, Louise, Danny and Claire at Brackley Ambulance Station on 2 July.  

Charlotte said: “Thanks to the ambulance service and my husband I am heretoday and can still be a mum to my son and daughter.

“As a nurse you never think that these things will happen to you, it is still surreal.

“I am eternally grateful; there are not enough words to describe how I feel about them. They are my heroes.”

Paramedic Sophie said: “It is lovely to be able to meet a patient. Once we have handed over at the hospital we never receive a follow up; seeing Charlotte here today with her family reminds us of the reasons we do our job.”

999 call taker Claire Smalley added: “It is lovely to be able to put a face to the voice on the other end of the phone, learn more about their life and how myself and my frontline colleagues played a part in her being here today with her family.

“We often hear that the crew has arrived and I put the phone down. I never hear anything again about the patient or their survival. It has been wonderful to meet Charlotte and her husband.”